Review: Jack West at Hotel Café Proves He’s a Storyteller for The Ages

Jack West at Hotel Cafe - Harriet Kaplan
Jack West at Hotel Cafe - Photo by Harriet Kaplan

Photos and Review by HARRIET KAPLAN

A very straightforward and earnest performance from 16-year-old singer-songwriter Jack West accompanying himself on acoustic guitar was simple and unadorned at the Hotel Café Main Stage. 

Already at such a young age, West, from Rochester, N.Y., is a seasoned professional and takes his craft very seriously. His voice and point of view lyrically are very strong: Dealing with the pandemic, life, and relationships. 

West is a powerful vocalist that has a scrappy punk sensibility that really is radio-friendly. Sitting on a stool on the stage, West held court and was confident, direct, and passionate in his delivery of the material from his debut album in 2019, For the Record and his other albums.

Jack West featured at Hotel Cafe – Photo by Harriet Kaplan

Performing 13 original numbers including “Better with Him,” “Missing Out,” “Forever,” “Unsinkable,” “Run Back to Me,” “A Little Shine,” “The Flower City,” Goodbye L.A. and “Montreal” and four covers: “Lighting Bolt” (Jake Bugg), “Hotel Yorba” (White Stripes), “Growing Up (Bruce Springsteen), the audience could feel and sense the depth and breadth of talent. Though there was a relatively small crowd at Hotel Café, West played his heart and soul out as if performing before many people.

West already has achieved some significant accolades at 16 years old. In 2017, he performed with Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder in Nashville at 12 years old. He has already collaborated with Barret Jones, the Seattle producer behind songs from the Foo Fighters, Nirvana, and more. West lists Nirvana, the Beatles, Neil Young, and Pink Floyd as his musical inspirations. His touring career really took off after an appearance at the BottleRock Festival in Napa, CA. 

It was followed by performances at the 50th Woodstock Celebration in Bethel, NY, as well as rock photographer Danny Clinch’s Transparent Gallery in Ashbury Park. Unfortunately, his touring schedule was cut extremely short in 2020. But now, West is back performing around the country.